The landscape of American manufacturing is rapidly changing—in a good way. It seems almost every day there’s a new advancement in technology and a novel use for manufacturers’ innovation. We are all collectively creating an industry that is as competitive as it is impressive.
Two great areas of technology and innovation—and of major industrial advancement—are in transportation and natural gas. Vehicle makers and their suppliers are seeing more demand than in a very long time, and America’s natural gas boom is generating employment and making manufacturing better and less expensive.
Combine the two areas, and you’ve really got a winning combo. That’s what Eaton and Cummings Westport did, recently announcing their offering of the first automated transmission to be paired with a spark-ignited natural gas engine in North America.
The transmission features a powertrain package combining the Eaton UltraShift™ PLUS automated transmission with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine. According to this article, the product will meet the market demand, based on “the interest in alternative fuels driving more fleets to integrate natural gas engines into their portfolio,” while offering “best-in-class” technology. More and more people are seeking natural gas paired with automated transmissions, and this product does just that.
Available mid-2014 for limited application release, the transmission offers “maximum power capacity, superior acceleration and low-speed maneuverability.” Other features include:
- A robust power band at 1500-1800 rpm
- Peak torque at 1200 rpm
- Heavy-duty natural gas engine available with horsepower of 320 hp to 400 hp (239-298 kW) with 1450 lb-ft (1966 N”¢m) peak torque
- Hill Start Aid, preventing rollbacks and reducing risk while simplifying operations
- Intelligent shift selection software
The product serves as an excellent example of American manufacturers coming together to offer a technologically-advanced product that utilizes the benefits of natural gas, meets market demand, and offers greater efficiency.